Mandera County in Kenya has launched a long-term program that is geared at countering radicalization and preventing violent extremism that has long ailed the NEP county. The program is projected to run for at least six years after which it is projected to have achieved its objective.
The program has been dubbed the Mandera County Action Plan (MCAP) and will be overseen by the county’s governor as well as the County Chief Officer for De-Radicalization and Counter Violent Extremism, Mohamed Adan Osman.
Mandera County has long suffered attacks from al Shabaab based in Somalia who exploit the porous Kenya-Somalia border. The terrorists mainly target security officers, nonnatives of the county as well as non-Muslim residents which has greatly affected the county on all fronts but especially economically.
Historically, Mandera has been believed to either produce or harbor al Shabaab terrorists and as such MCAP seeking to explore all avenues to address the herein vices by taking additional strategies to support the traditional security solutions. The program seeks to address radicalization and violent extremism from a preventative perspective factoring in women and youth as the key.
The key strategies include psycho-social aspects and ideological issues that make youth join terror groups. It also details strategies that state and non-state actors can use to effectively deal with violent extremism. A four-day forum to engage locals drawn from the perceived terror hotspots in the county dubbed “Building Local Capacities for Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism” was carried out last month.
MCAP was developed through an extensive consultative process involving national and county government agencies, religious leaders and civil society. Locals who have continuously suffered have shown a positive response to the program that already seems promising seeing as locals are being trained on how to fight terrorism.